Wednesday, November 30, 2011

History of St. Andrew's Day - Patron Saint of Scotland

Today is St. Andrew’s Day in Scotland where Apostle Andrew is the Patron Saint. His feast day is always observed on November 30
th. St Andrew's Day is a day to celebrate Scottish culture, cuisine and ceilidhs. (Social gatherings)

St Andrew's flag is the flag of Scotland. It is in the form of a white X on a blue background known as The Saltire.

Scottish Guardsmen marching in the St. Andrew's Day Parade


Who was St. Andrew?

The New Testament records that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter who was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade. At the beginning of Jesus' public life they occupied the same house at Capernaum.

The Gospel of John teaches that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him to follow Jesus.

There is still a major shrine in the Church of St Andreas at Patras, with his relics.

He was often described as an old man with long white hair and beard, holding the Gospel Book or scroll, sometimes leaning on a saltire.

After spreading the word of Jesus in his travels Andrew was eventually martyred by crucifixion at Patras in Achaea, Greece on an X-shaped cross (Saltire). This became known as "Saint Andrew's Cross"; this style was at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross on which Christ was crucified.

Having Saint Andrew as Scotland’s Patron gave the country several advantages. Because he was the brother of Saint Peter, founder of the Church, the Scots were able to appeal to the Pope in 1320 for protection against the attempts of English kings to conquer the Scots.

Traditionally, Scots also claimed that they were descended from the Scythians who lived on the shores of the Black Sea in what is now Romania and Bulgaria and were converted by Saint Andrew.

As Scotland slowly became a nation it needed a national symbol to rally round and motivate the country. Saint Andrew was an inspired choice and the early Picts and Scots modeled themselves on Saint Andrew.

The Saltire Cross became the heraldic arms that every Scot is entitled to fly and wear. The first time the color of the Saltire is mentioned is in the Acts of Parliament of King Robert II in July 1385 where every Scottish soldier was ordered to wear a white Saltire.

The Saltire was flown on Scottish ships and used as the logo of Scottish banks, on Scottish coins and seals and displayed at the funerals of Scottish kings and queens — that of King James VI for example and of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots.

There are many St Andrew Societies worldwide, set up originally as self-help organizations for Scots who had fallen on hard times, formed by a network of Scots who are all united under the Saltire Cross of Saint Andrew.

St. Andrew is also recognized as the Patron Saint of the Ukraine, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Romania, Philippines, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta) and Prussia; Army Rangers, mariners, fishermen, fishmongers, rope-makers, singers and performers.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Native American Indian Heritage Month

Three Native American women who have inspired many around the world.

Buffy Sainte-Marie - 1941 - was a graduating college senior in 1962 and hit the ground running in the early Sixties, after the beatniks and before the hippies. All alone she toured North America's colleges, reservations and concert halls. By age 24, Buffy Sainte-Marie had appeared all over Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia, receiving honors, medals and awards, which continue to this day. Her song ‘Until It's Time for You to Go’ was recorded by Elvis and Barbra and Cher, and her ‘Universal Soldier’ became the anthem of the peace movement. For her very first album she was voted Billboard's Best New Artist.

She disappeared suddenly from the mainstream American airwaves during the Lyndon Johnson years. Unknown to her, her name was included on White House stationery as among those whose music was too controversial, and radio airplay disappeared. Invited on to television talk shows on the basis of her success with Until It's Time for You to Go, she was told that Native issues and the peace movement had become unfashionable and to limit her comments to celebrity chat. This continued during the next presidential administration of Richard Nixon.

In Indian country and abroad her fame grew. Denied an adult television audience in the U.S., in 1975 she joined the cast of Sesame Street for five years. She continued to appear at countless grassroots concerts, AIM (American Indian Movement) events and other activist benefits in Canada and the U.S. She made 18 albums of her music, three of her own television specials, scored movies, garnered international acclaim, helped to found Canada's Music of Aboriginal Canada JUNO category, raised a son, earned a Ph.D. in Fine Arts, taught Digital Music as adjunct professor at several colleges, and won an Academy Award Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for the song Up Where We Belong.

2009 marked the release of her eighteenth album Running for the Drum, which won Buffy her third Juno Award. Packaged in tandem with the bio-documentary DVD Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life, the two disks together give audiences a glimpse into the life and work of this unique, always current artist.

Wilma Pearl Mankiller November 18, 1945 - April 6, 2010 (age 64) was the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. She served as the Principal Chief for ten years from 1985 to 1995.

As the powerful, visionary first woman Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Wilma Mankiller is responsible for 139,000 people and a $69 million budget.

Ms. Mankiller spent her formative years in San Francisco, where she learned about the women's movement and organizing. When she returned to her native Oklahoma, she used her skills to help the Cherokee Nation, starting community self-help programs and teaching people ways out of poverty. In 1983 she ran for deputy chief of the Nation, and in 1985 Ms. Mankiller became Principal Chief. She brought about important strides for the Cherokees, including improved health care, education, utilities management and tribal government. Her future plans called for attracting higher-paying industry to the area, improving adult literacy, supporting women returning to school and more. Wilma Mankiller also lived in the larger world, and was active in civil rights matters, lobbying the federal government and supporting women's activities and issues. She said: "We've had daunting problems in many critical areas, but I believe in the old Cherokee injunction to 'be of a good mind.' Today it's called positive thinking."

Maria Tallchief in Swan Lake. (credit: Martha Swope)

Maria TallChief 1925- Born Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief to an Osage Nation father, she became a well-known ballerina. In 1947 Maria began dancing with the New York City Ballet until her retirement in 1965. Soon after she founded the Chicago City Ballet and remained it's artistic director for many years.

Since 1997 she has been an adviser in the Chicago dance schools and continues to astound future dancers with her always-ahead-of-her-skill abilities and will be featured in a PBS special from 2007-2010.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Reflection - Native American Ten Commandments

November is Native American Heritage Month


1. Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect.

2. Remain close to the Great Spirit, in all that you do.

3. Show great respect for your fellow beings.

(Especially Respect yourself)

4. Work together for the benefit of all Mankind. 

5. Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.

6. Do what you know to be right.

(But be careful not to fall into self-righteousness)

7. Look after the well being of mind and body.

8. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.

9. Be truthful and honest at all times.

(Especially be truthful and honest with your self)

10. Take full responsibility for your actions.

Click here for a beautiful version of the 10 Native American Commandments

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Native American Indian Heritage Month History

Ben Nighthorse Campbell 1933-

The only American Indian in Congress, Republican senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell is also a Northern Cheyenne chief. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Colorado in 1987 and served in the U.S. Senate from 1992-2004. Campbell was a leader in policy dealing with natural resources and public lands and initiated legislation to found the National Museum of the American Indian within the Smithsonian Institution. He declined running for a third term in the Senate, citing health and personal reasons. A three-time U.S. judo champion, Campbell was captain of the U.S. Olympic judo team in 1964. He is also a rancher, horse trainer, and jewelry designer.

Sacajawea 1788-1812

Sacajawea is most well know for accompanying Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their Corps of Discovery of the Western United States in 1806. She was born in a Shoshone tribe as Agaidika, or "Salmon Eater" in 1788. In February of 1805, just after meeting Lewis and Clark, Lewis assisted in the birth of her son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Her face now appears in the dollar coin.

Pontiac 1720-1769

Known in his Ottawa tongue as Obwandiyag, Chief Pontiac is most well known for his defense of the Great Lakes Region of the US from the British Troop invasion and occupation. In 1763, Pontiac and 300 of his followers attempted to take Fort Detroit by surprise. Eventually the revolt rose to 900 plus Natives and they eventually took the Fort at The Battle of Bloody Run. Though historically a prominent figure, many are still unsure as to his real importance and to whether or not he was a mere follower rather than a leader. Increasingly ostracized, in 1769 he was assassinated by a Peoria Indian in Illinois.

Sitting Bull 1831-1890

Sitting Bull (Sioux: Tatanka Iyotake first named Slon-he, or, literally, slow), was a Hunkpapa Lakota medicine man and holy man. He is famous in both American and Native American history mostly for his major victory at the Battle of Little Bighorn against Custer, where his premonition of defeating them became reality. Even today, his name is synonymous with Native American culture, and he is considered to be one of the most famous Native Americans ever.

Black Hawk 1767-1838

Though not a traditional tribe chief, even after inheriting a very important medicine bundle, Black Hawk would become more well known as a War Chief. In his tribe's (Sauk's) tongue, his name, Makataimeshekiakiak, means, "Be a large black hawk". During the War of 1812 Black Hawk, so name-shortened by the English, became a fierce and powerful opponent. First fighting on the side of the British, Black Hawk eventually led a band of Sauk and Fox against settlers in Illinois and Wisconsin, eventually dying in Iowa. His legend is kept alive by many claiming to be directly related, like Jim Thorpe. This is, however, myth.

Hiawatha 1550-1600

Hiawatha who lived (depending on the version of the story) in the 1400s, or 1500s, he was variously a leader of the Onondaga and Mohawk nations of Native Americans. Hiawatha was a follower of The Great Peacemaker, a prophet and spiritual leader who was credited as the founder of the Iroquois confederacy, (referred to as Haudenosaunee by the people). If The Great Peacemaker was the man of ideas, Hiawatha was the politician who actually put the plan into practice. Hiawatha was a skilled and charismatic orator, and was instrumental in persuading the Iroquois peoples, the Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks, a group of Native North Americans who shared similar languages, to accept The Great Peacemaker's vision and band together to become the Five Nations of the Iroquois confederacy. (Later, in 1721, the Tuscarora nation joined the Iroquois confederacy, and they became the Six Nations).

(Information for this article taken from Weekly Reader News)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Buy Nothing Day - A Social Statement

There are many today who are making a social statement and are advocating "Buy Nothing Day," a 24-hour moratorium on consumer spending coinciding with Black Friday.

I refuse to join in with the shopping frenzy - this is me today as I make my own social statement :-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Native American Indian Heritage Month -Thanksgiving

Squanto 1581-1622

Assisting the Pilgrims during their first, harsh winter, the Patuxet, Tasquantum (Squanto) befriended the group in order to see them safely through to spring. In 1608, alas, Squanto and several others were kidnapped by Georgie Weymouth and taken aboard ship to England. Though eventually earning a living and learning the English language, Squanto made his return home in 1613 aboard John Smith's ship only to find his tribe completely wiped out by the plague.

Squanto had shown the Pilgrims how to fish, hunt, gather, and farm.

Thanks to Squanto, and a lot of hard work, the Pilgrims had a bountiful harvest. To celebrate the successful harvest, the Pilgrims' governor, William Bradford, invited the Native Americans to a traditional festival called "Harvest Home". "The First Thanksgiving," as we now call it, lasted for three days.

Welcome to the garden of The Three Sisters:

“In late spring we plant corn and beans and squash. They're not just plants- we call them the three sisters. We plant them together, three kinds of seeds in one hole. They want to be together with each other, just as we Indians want to be together with each other. So long as the three sisters are with us we know we will never starve. The Creator sends them to us each year. We celebrate them now. We thank Him for the gift He gives us today and every day.”

- Chief Louis Farmer (Onondaga)

THE THREE SISTERS: The first sister is corn, she grows tall and strong and helps the second sister, bean, by allowing her vines to climb up her stalk. In return, bean gives corn the nutrients she needs to grow. Squash is the third sister and she grows low to the ground, throughout the cornfield. Her large leaves help to keep the weeds under control and the soil moist.

The tribe's very survival depended on a reliable food supply, which is why they developed something called "companion planting”.

It was pure agricultural brilliance, and the reason these three humble plants play such a large part in so many Native American myths and legends. They believed that since they were so magical when grown together, that they should also be eaten together. They also believed that since they protected each other while growing, that they would protect whoever ate them together.

The term “Three Sisters” originated with the Haudenosaunee. (People of the Long House). In the Haudenosaunee story of Creation, the Three Sisters grew on Turtle Island and were considered the life sustainers.

CORN: Native Americans first domesticated Corn over 6,000 years ago, in that part of North America today called Mexico. Corn exists today, not just as a plant, but also as a symbol. It stands for Haudenosaunee identities. It stands for life. And it stands for spirit.

BEANS: Beans were as highly regarded as corn by Native Americans. Many varieties and colors of beans were cultivated and they were prepared in a number of ways. They were soaked, flattened, fried into cakes, used in salads, stews and soups and ground into flour.

SQUASH: Squash was also very important because it is very nourishing and can be cooked and eaten in a variety of ways. The winter squash such as acorn or butternut were often baked whole and flavored with maple syrup or honey. Squash is also important to the Iroquois ceremonially. Rattles used by the Medicine Societies were sometimes crafted from the gourds.

Why not try an authentic "succotash," which is the name that has survived to this day to describe the simple, yet magical combination of the "three sisters."

(Information for this article taken from Weekly Reader News)



6 cups of liquid. (Water, homemade chicken broth, or vegetable broth)

2 cups of fresh corn off the cob

1 cup of fresh green/yellow beans

1 cup of fresh peas

1 cup of light yellow pinto beans

1-½ cups of butternut/buttercup squash (or pumpkin)

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer all the veggies for about an hour and a half. (The simmering for that amount of time blends the flavor to an incredible flavor).

The blend of spices/herbs is your taste. I like a southwestern blend…. chilies, cumin, etc. Or a nice mild flavor blend of parsley, basil, savory, and oregano is wonderful. Place in blender and puree.

Serve with biscuits, bannock or scones.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Some Thanksgiving Hints

Some before Thanksgiving hints :-)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Did you know that today is World Toilet Day?

Did you know that today is World Toilet Day?

I am guessing that most of you reading this have lived your entire lives with access to indoor plumbing and a working toilet.

I am also aware that some of my readers may still not have running water or a flushable toilet in their home. While many of us take for granted that we will always have daily access to a bathroom there are millions of people in many developing countries who are denied this basic need every day.

You're probably wondering: Do we really need a National Toilet Day? The answer is yes. It is a day set aside to try to bring awareness to people around the world.

A group called ‘Water For People’ supports long-lasting solutions that empower communities to solve their own sanitation problems. They have asked bloggers to talk about this topic today so I am glad to do so.

Even thought at first glance World Toilet Day may seem frivolous there are activists in Washington D.C and around the world who use this day to call for increased access to basic bathrooms for everyone.

A toilet is actually a luxury in many areas of the world. Lack of toilets can spell trouble in the form of contaminated water and the spread of diseases such as cholera. Our friends in Haiti lived this experience this past year - 1,180 have died so far. The huge humanitarian operation in Haiti appears to be losing the battle against the latest catastrophe occurring in the poor Caribbean nation. 20,000 people have been treated in hospitals for the diarrheal disease, which can kill in hours through dehydration if not treated quickly.

It is estimated that 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean toilets and make do by using plastic bags or hustling off into the bushes.

Educate yourself about the lack of sanitation in the world. The facts are staggering - it is the world's biggest cause of infection. Safe disposal of children's feces leads to a reduction of nearly 40% in childhood diarrhea.

What percentage of the world uses toilet paper? The answer is: 30% –alternatives for the other 70% include hands, water, sand, small rocks, mud, leaves, rope, seaweed and corn husks.

So, when you sit down on your throne today, keep in mind that this is a day to remember that not everyone has the same ability to do what you’re doing. Not having a toilet would be like camping outdoors in the woods your whole life, don’t you think?

When I lived in El Salvador I met people in the rural communities who did not have electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. They dug out an open pit in the ground to dispose of fecal waste and when it was almost full they would cover it in with soil and then dug out another. In one community that I spent time in, some Dutch volunteer workers had built each family a raised commode (with a door) outside of the home which was built up high on cement cinder blocks. One had to go up several steps to use the commode and the waste would fall into a chemical filled site below. The villagers laughed and said that they now had royal thrones.

I once attended a gathering in the village where the local pastor conducted a religious service of thanking God for the gift of access to running water. Every villager was in attendance to give thanks to God and to witness the blessing of the water. The same volunteers from Holland had dug for water and it was finally being channeled into a pipe and one faucet. This single outdoor faucet was for the entire village to share. Before the installation of this faucet the villagers had to travel long distances to collect water and carry it in containers, balanced on their heads, back to their homes.

I also witnessed similar conditions in rural India, especially in the Dalit (formerly known as the Untouchables) community.

So there you have it - World Toilet Day is a day marked to make us aware that over 2.6 billion people in other countries across the globe do not have basic sanitation, causing widespread diseases and deaths every day.

Some may pooh-pooh the whole idea – yes, I said it :-) but really, why not stand up so that others can sit down this World Toilet Day!


1 out of 5 children die of diarrheal disease, which means the mother in this photo can expect to bury at least one of her children before their 5th birthday.


To learn more about this go to -

UNICEF is also committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide.

Why not volunteer to help with labor or a financial donation? Check them out.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

If It Is Thursday It's Going Green - Be Green, Live Green, Buy Green

Remember the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair

Some Things You Can Do To Make a Difference:

Power down: Many of the resources we use and the waste we create is in the energy we consume. Look for opportunities in your life to significantly reduce energy use.

Drive less, fly less, turn off lights, buy local seasonal food (food takes energy to grow, package, store and transport), wear a sweater instead of turning up the heat, use a clothesline instead of a dryer, vacation closer to home, buy used or borrow things before buying new, recycle.

All these things save energy and save you money.

Waste less: Per capita waste production in the United States just keeps growing. There are dozens of opportunities each day to reduce the waste in your home, school, workplace, place of worship and community.

This takes developing new habits that soon become second nature. Use both sides of the paper, carry your own mugs and shopping bags, get printer cartridges refilled instead of replaced, compost food scraps, avoid bottled water and other over packaged products, upgrade computers rather than buying new ones, repair and mend rather than replace - the list is endless! The more we visibly engage in reuse over wasting, the more we cultivate a new cultural norm, or actually, reclaim an old one!

Talk to everyone about these issues:

Let people know the changes that you have made and the difference that they make to the environment. Talk to as many people who will listen - at school, at work. Tell your neighbors, and especially your family and friends. Talking about these issues raises awareness, builds community and can inspire others to action. Children talk it over with your parents.

Make Your Voice Heard.

Don't forget, together we can make a difference!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Where Do Leaves Get Their Autumn Colors?

These photos were taken recently while crossing the bridge that leads to the Aquarium in Niagara Falls, New York.

If you live in one of those parts of the world where Nature has one last fling before settling down into winter's sleep consider yourself lucky. In those wondrous places, as days shorten and temperatures become crisp, the quiet green palette of summer foliage is transformed into the vivid autumn palette of reds, orange, gold, and brown before the leaves fall off the trees. On special years, the colors are truly breathtaking.

Evergreens-pines, spruces, cedars, firs, are able to survive winter because they have toughened up. Their needle or scale like foliage is covered with a heavy wax coating and the fluid inside their cells contains substances that resist freezing. Thus the foliage of evergreens can safely withstand all but the severest winter conditions, such as those in the Arctic. Evergreen needles survive for some years but eventually fall because of old age.

I lived for several years in the New England states and now I am in Western New York. Every autumn I have been able to revel in the beauty of the fall colors. The mixture of red, purple, orange and yellow is the result of chemical processes that take place in the tree as the seasons change from summer to winter.

During spring and summer the leaves have served as factories where most of the foods necessary for the tree's growth are manufactured. This food-making process takes place in the leaf in numerous cells containing chlorophyll, which gives the leaf its green color. This extraordinary chemical absorbs from sunlight the energy that is used in transforming carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates, such as sugars and starch.

Certain colors of leaves are characteristic of particular species of trees.

-Oaks turn red, brown, or russet.

-Hickories turn golden bronze.

-Beech turns light tan.

-Red maple turns brilliant scarlet.

-Sugar maple turns orange-red.

-Black maple turns glowing yellow.

-Aspen, birch, and yellow poplar turn golden yellow.

Leaf color is most spectacular when the right combination of factors is present. Scientists don't fully understand all of the complicated interactions that cause the best display of leaf color, but they do know that leaf pigments, length of night, the type of tree, genetic variation, and the weather all play a role.

Where Do Leaves Get Their Autumn Colors?

Tree and plant leaves contain pigments that give them their color. Three pigments are involved in fall color:

· Chlorophyll — gives leaves their green color.

· Carotenoids — provide the yellow, orange, and brown colors

· Anthocyanins — give the red and purple colors.

In contrast to the other two pigments, anthocyanins are produced in the autumn, in response to bright light and excess plant sugars in the leaf cells.

During the growing season, most tree leaves are green because they are full of chlorophyll that enables them to manufacture their own food. As the days grow shorter in the fall, chlorophyll production slows down and eventually stops. The carotenoids and anthocyanins that are present in the leaf then become visible.

Fallen leaves are not wasted; they decompose and restock the soil with nutrients. The rich layer of decomposing leaves protects the roots of other plants on the forest floor and absorbs and holds rainfall. Imitating nature by mulching with shredded leaves provides similar benefits for trees and shrubs in the home landscape.

Today the temperature was in the 60's - very unusual for this time of year. I spent time working in the Peace Garden while enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful foliage and thought I would share it with you today.

photos by peacesojourner

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The 171st Anniversary of the Birth of Claude Monet

This week marked the 171st anniversary of the birth of Claude Monet

Born: 14 November 1840

Birthplace: Paris, France

Died: 5 December 1926 (86)

Best Known As: Impressionist painter of water lilies

"People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it's simply necessary to love." - Claude Monet

Claude Monet was a founder and central figure of the 19th century art movement known as Impressionism. Early in his career, Monet painted realistic landscapes, but after the 1870s he focused more on the effect of changing light on everyday objects. Often he painted multiple studies of the same subjects, from train stations and haystacks to the London skyline, the Rouen Cathedral and, most famously, water lilies.

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) Monet fled from Paris to England, where he formed friendships with Camille Pisarro, Auguste Renoir and other figures central to Impressionism. He returned to Paris at the end of the war, settling in Giverny, where he began a long series of paintings of haystacks (or grain stacks) during the 1890s.

Monet's Impressionistic paintings sold well and his financial success allowed him to purchase property in Giverny, where he built a large garden that became the subject of his series Water Lilies (1906-26). Monet's scenes have since become some of the most recognized paintings in the world. One of his lily paintings sold in 1998 for around $39 million, and in 2007 "Waterloo Bridge, Temps Couvert" sold at auction for more than $35 million.

Monet's painting Impression: Series (1872) is said to be the inspiration for the name of Impressionism... Monet spent two years in the military, in Algiers, before his father agreed to buy him out of his conscripted seven-year service

It was Monet's dedication to the purity of the motif that caused him to create gardens wherever he lived. By the time he lived and painted in Giverny, Monet employed six full-time gardeners to create the gardens that inspired his water lilies canvas.

Many years ago I purchased a poster print of the above image of Monet’s Garden at Vetheuil. It has the monetary value of under $20 but it has travelled with me as I lived in several different countries. For many years it was on the wall in my bedroom and was strategically placed so that when I opened my eyes in the morning it was the first thing that I would see. I would lie in bed for a while and imagine walking through the sunflower fields. Also thinking about the little girl in the picture and wondering who was she? What was her life like in the 1800’s?

During the years that I lived in Spain I saw fields of sunflowers which were grown for marketing and distribution around the world. I was intrigued by the wonderful 'faces' of the sunflowers which would always follow the sun. As the sun moved around in the sky the flowers would all be facing in the direction of the sun. An amazing sight and one that I remember still today as I look at Monet's painting.

I moved into my present home five years ago and I placed the print on the wall in my kitchen, and actually coordinated the colors in the kitchen around those colors in the picture. I look at it every day and I love it.

When I typed in the word Monet in the computer search engine it told me that there were 47,000,000 results. (Forty seven million!) Is it any wonder that we still speak the name of Claude Monet 171 years later?

Monet's art has definitely brought joy into my life over the years.

Consider me a fan J

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy News - Today is World Kindness Day

Today is World Kindness Day

This separate day dedicated to acts of kindness to humanity was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Organization. The Cosmos flower is adopted as a symbol of World Kindness Day. This Day is observed in many countries including Canada, Japan, Australia and India.

The purpose of World Kindness Day is to look beyond ourselves, our country, our culture, our race, our religion and realize we are citizens of the world.

Hopefully, kindness is something which should be displayed on a daily basis and not just on one day, the fact remains that we are so caught up in our own comforts, problems and needs that many times we fail to look around and see the needs and hardships of others or help them.

So what can we do on this World Kindness Day to make at least a small difference to mankind? I think there is no better gift one can give to a fellow human being than peace and happiness. Let us do at least one act of kindness on this day. Let us help ourselves and help our global brothers and sisters by spreading the message of peace and happiness.

You ask the question ‘What can I do?” – just look around you – help an elderly person or someone in need, contribute to charity, give food for a needy person, donate blood, visit an orphanage or a nursing home, spend time with the inmates and so on. Have you ever tried to meet the local refugees who may be living in your community? Reach out to them in kindness. Give everyone a smile today – it will bring you personal happiness.

If a person should try to pay you for your act of kindness – just smile and say “Just pass it on – do something nice for someone else when you can.”